With the introduction of 500 new companies – within 2,800 total exhibitors – the New York International Gift Fair® (NYIGF®) offered a wealth of new resources for buyers and attracted an increased number of individual retailers, as well as a robust gain in the number of stores attending market.

The winter 2012 NYIGF edition ran January 28-February 2, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Passenger Ship Terminal Piers 92 and 94. In total, attendance was comprised of 35,000 retailers from all 50 states and 74 countries, with Canada, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Australia and the U.K. as the top source of international visitors. Overall, individual buyer attendance grew almost 5% over winter 2011, with total company attendance increasing more significantly – by 7%  – over last year.

“Growth in both individual and company attendance reflects an increasingly healthy economy and amplified the positive mood of the market,” says Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president. “Anecdotally, exhibitors reported a week of strong order writing, especially within home product categories, including textiles, tabletop, home furnishings and gourmet housewares.”

Strong attendance during the winter edition of NYIGF was well-received by exhibitors. “This show went really well. I wasn’t expecting this for January. It’s been fabulous,” notes Diana Schimmel of Dos Riberas. Alden Smith of Aid to Artisans adds, “We generally have a bigger show at the summer NYIGF than at the winter [edition], but this show is keeping pace. It’s a wonderful sign.”

The NYIGF “Driven By Design” campaign – which launched in the fall of 2011 –  promoted the show’s overall design-driven, fashion-forward positioning. Many exhibitors noted the buyers’ behaviors have evolved to a higher level of appreciation for design. “Buyers at NYIGF really respect the handmade movement,” observes David Atlas of Marquet. Caleb Siemon of United Glass reports, “We’ve noticed a demand for unique items, and our higher-end products have been selling more.”

The winter edition of NYIGF also incorporated five days of value-added programming, including educational sessions, industry social events, product awards, and feature displays. Some 30+ educational seminars – mainly presented by industry publications and associations – addressed color trends, sustainability, plus social media and retail strategies. Industry events included 2012 Housewares Design Awards Gala & Ceremony; Gift For Life’s 20th Anniversary “Party for Life” Fundraiser; and the NYIGF’s “Night on Broadway” featuring Rock of Ages.

Market activities also included the Best New Product Awards, as selected by leading trade editors, in NYIGF’s Baby & Child and EXTRACTS divisions, as well as in At Home featuring Home Textiles as part of the Home Textiles Market Week Best New Product Awards. Product design was also recognized with the Accent on Design Awards and the Accent on Design Bloggers’ Choice Awards, chosen by representatives of leading design blogs. Within NYIGF’s SustainAbility: design for a better world® exhibit, the Eco Choice Awards rewarded the most innovative and environmentally responsible products.

Award winners are detailed online at www.nyigf.com/TheShow/AwardsPromotionsDisplays.aspx.